Living Intentionally: 3 Steps to Gaining Agency

Series: Reaching Your Goals

Written by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, Intentional Insights Co-Founder and President.


Are you getting all you want? Are you achieving all of your goals? Are you living a fully intentional life?

If you are, I salute you. I can’t make the same claim. I do aspire to live more intentionally, though – I am an aspiring intentionalist.

To live a more intentional life, I constantly strive to gain greater agency, the quality of living intentionally. In doing that, it helps to take the following 3 steps:

1. Evaluating reality clearly, to
2. Make effective decisions, that
3. Achieve our short and long-term goals.

Evaluating reality well involves gaining a thorough and accurate understanding of the situation and the full extent of our options within it. Four factors obstruct our ability on this front, including:

Social prescriptions about appropriate ways of perceiving reality;
Internalized preconceptions based on our previous experiences;
Thinking errors that our brain makes due to faulty wiring;
• Finally, an emotional reluctance to face the truth of reality when that requires changing our minds and updating our beliefs based on new information.

Learning about and watching out for these challenges in a systematic manner improves our decision-making. Gaining agency in this area involves studying and practicing research-based strategies for evaluating and making decisions, and for enacting these decisions into life in an intentional manner.

In the moment, doing the latter involves having an intentional response to situations, as opposed to relying on autopilot reflexes, in order to accomplish our immediate goals. In the long term, agency involves intentionally planning one’s time and activities so that one can accomplish one’s aims in the future. You can gain agency in both the short and the long term by learning about and implementing intentional approaches to refining and achieving your goals.

As you can imagine, these things are easy to say, but hard to do. It's very helpful to get support along the way, through learning about strategies oriented toward this purpose. However, above all, it takes your own commitment to the goal of gaining greater agency over your life and living intentionally.

• What personal experiences did you have that illustrate the benefits of gaining agency and living intentionally?
What strategies have you found to be most helpful in these areas?
• What specific steps can you take to implement the strategies described here into your life?



____________________________________________________________________

Please DONATE if you found this article helpful. Intentional Insights is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and we are able to create our content only thanks to the generous support of readers like you (your donations are tax-deductible). We also invite you to volunteer and buy our merchandise. To avoid missing out on content that help you reach your goals, subscribe to the Intentional Insights monthly newsletter and RSS feed. Thank you!

Recent Posts 10

A Reason-Oriented Perspective on Meanings and Values

A Reason-Oriented Perspective on Meanings and Values

July 25, 2016

How can you explore meanings and values through reason, logic, and community?

A Pastor Walks Into a Room Full of Atheists

A Pastor Walks Into a Room Full of Atheists

July 18, 2016

How and why you should find community in diversity

Revenge for the Orlando Shooting Spree!

Revenge for the Orlando Shooting Spree!

July 11, 2016

What is the best path forward after the Orlando shooting spree?

How a Calculator Helped Me Multiply My Giving

How a Calculator Helped Me Multiply My Giving

July 5, 2016

How do you know where your gift makes the biggest impact?

 Online Video Course: Finding Meaning and Purpose in the Workplac

Online Video Course: Finding Meaning and Purpose in the Workplace Using Science

June 27, 2016

Help yourself and others find meaning and purpose in the workplace!

The Panama Papers Reveal the Solution to Global Suffering

The Panama Papers Reveal the Solution to Global Suffering

June 20, 2016

A fraction of the money stashed away in tax havens can relieve global suffering

How To Protect Yourself From False Beliefs

How To Protect Yourself From False Beliefs

June 13, 2016

Discover science-based strategies to see the truth in any situation!

The Healing Arts Initiative Scandal Shows The Need For Effective

The Healing Arts Initiative Scandal Shows The Need For Effective Altruism

June 6, 2016

We can solve the problems in the nonprofit sector by being savvy investors.

How To Avoid Impulsive Temptations

How To Avoid Impulsive Temptations

May 30, 2016

Think your way into willpower!

Why You Don’t Think You’re Beautiful

Why You Don’t Think You’re Beautiful

May 23, 2016

How our minds fail in thinking about beauty standards.